What Culture Eats Guinea Pigs

Contents

Here’s Why Americans Aren’t Eating Guinea Pig

In the United States, it is legal to consume guinea pig, but it is not something that we do on a regular basis. Guinea pig consumption is a long-standing custom in many regions of South America, particularly in the Andes. Every year, around 65 million guinea pigs are consumed in Peru alone. So why aren’t they being consumed by the general public in the United States? In the United States, the majority of people think of guinea pigs as cute, cuddly pets. It’s difficult to get past that connotation, which makes the prospect of eating them seem a little gruesome.

Guinea pigs use far fewer resources than other animals, and because they multiply at an alarming rate, it is simple to maintain a steady supply of them.

The guinea pig market is also assisting farmers in other nations in their efforts to lift themselves out of poverty.

It is classified as an exotic meat, in the same category as venison, rabbit, and bison.

Many individuals, on the other hand, would prefer to eat a rabbit rather than a guinea pig.

So maybe it’s time to give it a shot – you never know, it could just turn out to be your new favorite protein.

The Ultimate Guide to Eating Guinea Pig: Could This Save the Planet?

For me, 2018 has been a year of firsts in a variety of areas. I eventually passed my driving test (albeit not on the first try), I traveled to South America for the first time, and I got my first taste of guinea pig (though not on the first try). That is right; you read that correctly. I ate the adorable fluffy pet that we maintain in the United Kingdom and the United States. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain a little bit about the history of eating guinea pig and why eating guinea pig might just be the key to saving the planet for all of the vegetarians who have just clicked the back button on their browser and all of the meat-eaters who are screaming’savage’ from behind their computers.

When Did People Start Eating Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs are not particularly appetizing to many people in the United Kingdom and the United States. To the contrary, they are most likely associated with our first fluffy family member, whom we had as children. The first guinea pigs were kept as pets in Europe, however, only when South Americans began bringing them over to the continent. While there is evidence to show that guinea pig has never been a widespread dish in Europe, this is not the case in South America, where it is. It is not a new trend that guinea pigs are now being served on human dinner plates, according to the ASPCA.

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are all places where these hairy little mice have graced the plates of locals for thousands of years, and they are all in the Americas.

Guinea pigs are now known as Cuy in many parts of South America, where they are kept as pets.

This is the Kichwa translation, which is derived from the high-pitched sound that the guinea pigs produce, and it is used to communicate. I’m not going to lie: thinking about it when you’re trying to decide what to have from the menu isn’t really helpful.

Where Should I Eat Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs aren’t particularly appetizing to many people in the United Kingdom and the United States. To the contrary, they are most likely associated with our first fluffy family member, which occurred during early youth. The first guinea pigs were kept as pets in Europe only when South Americans began bringing them into the country. In Europe, there is no indication that guinea pig has ever been a frequent dish; however, in South America, this is not the case. guinea pigs being served to humans is not a new trend.

In fact, researchers believe that guinea pigs were initially recognized as a food source about 5,000 BC!

Guinea pigs are more commonly seen as pets in the United Kingdom and the United States than as food.

That’s the Kichwa translation, which gets its name because of the high-pitched sound that the guinea pigs make when they run about.

How is it Cooked?

Guinea pig can be prepared in a variety of methods, the most common of which being roasting, baking, or frying. The Cuy that Tim and I ate in Cuenca was roasted on a spit (it is suggested that you make your reservation at least an hour in advance , allow for sufficient cooking time) and then fried. In Ecuador, as is the case with pig, the animal is occasionally blow-torched prior to cooking in order to remove the hair.

What Does Guinea Pig Taste Like?

Being a lover of all things cute, I was concerned about how I would handle the prospect of attempting to eat one of these adorable creatures. Despite the fact that I am much more open-minded about my diet now, I will admit that I do not enjoy eating foods that have faces on them. I know it’s absurd, yet it still makes my stomach churn every now and again. Guinea pig is a frequent dish on Peruvian and Ecuadorian restaurants’ menus. The guinea pig was delivered pre-cut into pieces, yet it was still entire with all of its limbs and head when it arrived.

I snuggled myself in right away.

It has a gamey feel that is more comparable to that of rabbit, but it has an exceptionally crispy skin that makes it stand out.

I would compare it to an excellent pork crackling in flavor and texture.

The Environmental Impact of Eating Guinea Pig

With so much attention being paid these days to environmental preservation, some environmentalists are attempting to sell guinea pigs as a carbon-friendly beef substitute. As a result of the methane generated by cows when they discharge wind, the raising of cattle results in a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Knowing that such emissions are harmful to the environment, it is possible that guinea pig farms might be an environmentally benign alternative to conventional livestock farming.

  1. It is because they are gentle that they are significantly more manageable to farm than larger animals.
  2. The ordinary cow requires a lot more area than that.
  3. As you might anticipate, guinea pigs use far less food than other rodents, making them more cost-effective to rear.
  4. Nothing else on the planet is suffering from the repercussions of deforestation to the extent that the countries of South America are.

The widespread eating of guinea pig would undoubtedly be a positive step toward mitigating this harm. I was startled to discover that guinea pig tasted quite similar to rabbit.

Is Eating Guinea Pig Morally Wrong?

This is dependent on your point of view. Of course, vegetarians will scream in terror when they see the photographs of fried up rats on this website since they are not vegetarians. Despite the fact that I am not a vegetarian, I understand their point of view. At the very least, they’re constant in their non-meat consuming habits. As for all of the meat-eaters out there, I have a difficult time empathizing with their fury. In the Western world, it is fair to say that we are all a long way from the food that ends up on our plates.

Perhaps it is ludicrous to say as a meat-eater.

Choose a side: either all animals are important or none of them are.

Cuy is strong in protein and low in cholesterol, making it a potentially better choice than many other forms of meat, according to some.

Eating Guinea Pig: The Verdict!

I understand that guinea pig is not for everyone, but I feel that there are only benefits to be gained by including it on the menu. Although guinea pig meat is extremely nutritious, there are significant environmental advantages to raising the animals rather than cattle in the first place. We are now causing immense damage to our environment in the name of feeding ourselves, which we might simply lessen by adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. It appears to me that by consuming guinea pig, we may not only lessen our carbon footprint, but we can also become a little more accepting of our neighbors as well.

Do you like it?

Guinea pigs: A popular Peruvian delicacy

Inside a guinea pig farm, as seen in the media caption Guinea pigs, or “cuy” as they are known in Peruvian, are considered a delicacy, despite the fact that most people think of them as fluffy, charming pets. In recent years, their popularity has skyrocketed, and a boom in guinea pig farming is assisting many peasant farmers earning less than the minimum wage in their efforts to lift themselves out of poverty. As soon as you enter into the dusty barn, you can hear people laughing. The open cages are crammed with hundreds of guinea pigs, all of whom are squeaking and waiting for their owner, Maria Camero, to fill up their red water buckets and feed them maize, which she does every day.

  • “Guinea pig raising is a profitable business,” says Maria Camero, who provided the image caption.
  • In recent years, owing to the efforts of her son-in-law Alessio Cresci, Maria and her family have increased their production of guinea pigs dramatically.
  • Maria moved from caring for a small number of guinea pigs to becoming a member of a team that breeds hundreds of guinea pigs.
  • In addition to selling guinea pigs to local restaurants, they offer and occasionally provide start-up kits to local farmers who are interested in becoming involved.
  • “It is within my financial means to pay for my daughter to attend a higher school.
  • That is made possible by my business “Maria expresses herself.
  • Marya’s daughter Shelia and her husband Alessio have been instrumental in the growth of the company, as seen in the description Peasant farmers earn an average of thirty dollars per month, which is considered a living income.
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The restaurant industry, which can’t get enough of cuy, is the secret to their success.

“Cuy has been consumed by the Incas for generations, but in the past, it was mainly farmers in the Andes who continued to consume them,” Mr Vigil explains.

Producers are even considering the United States as a market.

It was initially difficult to obtain authorization for officials to let frozen guinea pigs into the United States, where, like the rest of the globe, they are considered pets.

The cuy, in reality, has never been kept as a pet by Peruvians.

Getty Images is the source of this image.

Jaime Pesaque is the proprietor of Mayta, a high-end restaurant in Lima’s affluent neighborhood.

They are high in protein and low in fat, according to him.

Jaime has discovered a recipe that is more user-friendly.

The description for the image reads, “This is not your typical grilled guinea pig.” I was dreading the prospect of sampling this national delicacy.

I pledged to myself that I would never do it again.

And Jaime’s rendition is really delectable.

He has gained a new believer.

Guinea pigs are providing a means of escape from poverty in Peru, despite the fact that they will always be considered first and foremost as pets by the bulk of the world’s population. Listen to the World Business Report on the BBC World Service for more information on this subject.

More on this story

Inside a guinea pig farm, according to the media caption Guiness pigs (also known as “cuy” in Peruvian) are considered a delicacy by most people who perceive them as fluffy, charming pets. Many peasant farmers who are earning less than the minimum wage are benefiting from an increase in the popularity of guinea pig farming, which has risen dramatically in recent years. Immediately upon entering the dusty barn, you can hear them. Their owner, Maria Camero, is filling up their red water buckets and feeding them grain as they wait in the open cages.

  1. The breeder, Maria, explains that in the past, guinea pigs were only produced by people who lived in the highlands, but now they are a profitable business.
  2. With the help of her son-in-law Alessio Cresci, Maria and her family are now producing guinea pigs on a far greater scale.
  3. Maria’s journey began with the care of a small number of guinea pigs and ended up as part of a team responsible for the breeding of hundreds of them.
  4. The company not only sells to local restaurants, but they also sell and occasionally provide start-up kits to local farmers who are interested in becoming involved.
  5. “It is within my financial means to pay for my daughter to attend a higher school, and I have also paid for my son to go university and pursue a degree in graphic design.
  6. Marya’s daughter Shelia and her husband Alessio have been instrumental in the growth of the company.
  7. According to Lionel Vigil, regional director of World Neighbours, a nonprofit that assists them in getting started, many of them are now making $130 a month or more.

For roughly $8, farmers may sell them to local eateries, and for up to $13 in Lima’s high-end restaurants.

“The Incas have been eating cuy for centuries,” he adds.

Caption for image According to Lionel Vigil of the nonprofit World Neighbours, rearing guinea pigs may help farmers treble their monthly revenue.

Ex-pat A Guinea pig, which Bolivians and Peruvians are willing to spend $30 for and consume on special occasions, is diced up and deep-fried in a manner similar to chicken.

Nevertheless, with the help of academics and anthropologists, one exporter, Mega Business, has successfully persuaded authorities that this is a part of Andean culture and that guinea pigs also have a high nutritional value.

Their culinary worth outweighs their charm, even if they acknowledge that they are little and sweet.

Although not all tourists to Peru are enthusiastic about eating guinea pig roasted in the traditional manner, the image caption Mr.

Every month, he purchases around 200 guinea pigs who are fed only on organic feed.

Many people were turned off by the practice of serving guinea pigs as a type of kebab on the local streets, which included fangs, claws, and all.

Then we press it for a couple of hours before cooking it.” “We take out all the bones and simmer it the entire night,” says the chef.

While traveling to Machu Picchu by train, their teeth and claws were shoved up at me from behind.

Things, however, are different now.

There’s a sweetness to the flesh that reminds me of rabbit or pig, and the skin is crunchy as well.

Guinea pigs are providing a means of escape from poverty in Peru, despite the fact that they will always be regarded as pets by the vast majority of the world’s population. Listen to the BBC World Service’s World Business Report for more information on this subject.

Guinea Pig Specs

guinea pigs are from 0.5kg (1lb) to 1.2kg (2.5lb) in weight and range in length from 20cm (8 inches) to 40cm (16 inches) when fully grown. Consider a tiny chicken as an example. That’s precisely how it tastes, to be honest. Well, not precisely, but it’s a close enough substitute. The meat of cuy is tastier in my opinion than chicken since it has a little more oil and has a slight “gamey” flavor to it. Because the meat is low in fat and high in protein, it might be considered a reasonably healthy diet.

It’s a darker meat than even a leg of chicken, and it packs a nutritional punch that outshines its weight in the department of nutrients.

On the menus of a few Andean, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian specialty restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, and a few other US cities with significant South American populations is cuy asado (roasted guinea pig).

Diego Oka is the executive chef of La Mar.

Subscribe to Eat Peru!

Subscribe to Eat Peru’s newsletter to receive notifications about new posts and other updates. Guinea pigs raised for food are consumed once they have reached the age of a couple of months after being born. They are served in a manner similar to that of a fish, with the exception of the intestines, which are frequently removed. The head is edible, and many people find it to be their favorite portion of the animal. That’s a step too far for me, although the rest of the animal is delicious to consume.

  • It’s a possibility.
  • People have become more receptive to trying new meals as a result of globalization.
  • If bug protein is the way of the future, why not guinea pig meat as a byproduct?
  • You should seek out acuyera (cuy restaurant) if you ever find yourself in Peru, as the staple food there is roast guinea pig (cuy al horno).

Cuy is cooked in a variety of ways, and how you eat it is entirely up to you, although it’s worth following the tradition of the region. Cusco is the perfect place to go if you want to try some amazing cuyera.

Cooking Guinea Pig

Cuy chactadois a deep-fried form of our furry companion, which is delicious. Most of the time, the animal is served flattened with the head taken from it. Because there are several variations of this recipe, I’ll provide you with one that you may use as a starting point for your own experiments. Because this is a straightforward dish, omitting the cornmeal, peppers, and cumin from the recipe will not significantly alter the overall presentation or flavor.

Peruvian Guinea Pig recipe

1. Remove the hair and intestines from a medium-sized guinea pig and set them aside. It should be completely cleaned. To prepare the cuy, submerge it in water that has been lightly salted with lime juice and allow it to air-dry overnight. In Peru, a cook will leave the dish out in the sun to dry (left to hang on a cord or twine). You may even dry the animal in the oven if you want to (at low temperatures) 3.Pat dry the raw animal’s skin with a mixture of salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic (finely minced).

  • Using a brush or a spoon to apply the spices on the meat will not provide the same results.
  • Cook until cornmeal is cooked through.
  • 5.Heat the oil in a separate pot.
  • Put the guinea pig into the oil with a skewer and flip it several times to ensure that the entire animal is cooked.
  • Using a big dish, arrange the cuy and spoon over some of the sauce from step 4.
  • Cuy chactado is traditionally served with fries or Peruvian salsa criolla sauces as a side dish.
  • Photo credit: Roast Guinea Pig with Potatoes byPululante, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.
  • Peruvian cuisine enthusiast.
  • More information on the Eat Peru team may be found here.

Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs in the U.S.

Guinea pigs are considered to be adorable family pets by many people in the United States. Deep-frying them after coating them in batter seems downright repugnant, doesn’t it? However, culinary cultures may shift quickly, and among a tiny but rising number of food enthusiasts in the United States, this flamboyant rodent is being considered for a new purpose: supper, according to National Public Radio. To be quite honest, guinea pigs were initially domesticated for their meat, not for their ability to provide company.

  • Even today, guinea pig (also known as “cuy”) is a typical feature on the menus of South American restaurants.
  • Cuy is becoming increasingly popular as a prominent entrée in many Peruvian and Chilean restaurants, and foodies in the United States are taking note.
  • These rodents are being prepared for the rotisserie by a variety of people, not simply food enthusiasts.
  • In fact, some environmentalists are already advocating for the consumption of guinea pig meat as a sustainable, carbon-friendly alternative to beef.
  • They may be housed in backyards or in the comfort of your own home.
  • To put it another way, guinea pigs are a low-impact source of meat.
  • Raising cattle for the purpose of meat production, on the other hand, poses a variety of environmental concerns.

In addition to clearing a lot of ground for cattle, cows belch and fart significant amounts of methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas.

Nowhere is this pressure on the environment more visible than in South America, where cattle ranching is the major driver of deforestation in the Amazon.

Heifer International’s Jason Woods estimates that a cow takes around 8 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat, while a small rodent requires only half that amount of energy.

Surprisingly, they don’t have a chicken flavor to them.

It is most often cooked in South America by grilling or deep-frying the animal in its whole state.

“In the United States, there is a definite cultural prejudice against eating guinea pigs, and rodents in general,” Miller explained. Finding ways to lessen our carbon impact is a good idea, as is consuming tiny livestock such as guinea pigs, according to the authors.

Roasted, curried, sweetened . guinea pig meat returns to the plates of Peru

As guinea pig meat becomes more widely available in high-end restaurants around Peru, it is helping to usher in the resurgence of a traditional, ecologically friendly sector run by women. Top chefs in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia have resurrected the appeal of traditional cuy meat, with roasted, curried, and even sweetened forms of the flesh now appearing on restaurant menus. Similarly, the squeamishness of Western tourists when confronted with a deep-fried meal of cuy chactado has been replicated in segments of Peruvian culture where the aesthetics of eating a rodent were a source of contention This is changing, and the increased demand has provided a chance for Andean governments and organizations to provide rural women with training in sustainable guinea pig farming as well as assistance with challenges such as poverty, hunger and gender equality.

  • Large, organically farmed gigantic guinea pigs that have been developed for meat and are twice the size of those that are kept as pets are being promoted as a healthier alternative to chicken as well as a leaner option to red meat.
  • In nations such as Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, rodents are a classic hot meal to be enjoyed.
  • Women with little financial resources would benefit from this program because it offers them life skills that will increase equality within families and assist them in achieving financial independence.
  • “It maximizes the utilization of land, they reproduce quickly, and they do not require a lot of feeding until they are ready for eating,” said Lionel Vigil, the director of WN.
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A representative from Peru’s general directorate of livestock, Daniel Huaman Bedoya, stated: “It is the empowerment of rural women in order for them to take an active role in breeding, as well as the fact that breeding is a livestock activity that is closely associated with family farming, that allows the development of the population.” Peruvian guinea pigs that have been bred for consumption.

  1. The cuy has always played an important role in traditional events; for example, a fried guinea pig is depicted paws up in the famed 1753 painting of the Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, which can be found in Cusco’s Cathedral Basilica.
  2. Mariela Lizarme Llocclla, a cuy farmer, used to be a cow farmer in her previous life.
  3. Now it takes her only seven months.
  4. She utilizes the feces from the animals to fertilize meadows that are used to grow alfalfa, which is then fed to the cuy.
  5. Photograph courtesy of World Neighbors/Lionel Vigil “I had a cow, and she provided me with excellent milk and cheese, as well as calves for sale.
  6. I didn’t think much of breeding cuy before taking part in the courses, but now I’m more enthusiastic about it.
  7. All of the materials needed to make cages and shelters out of adobe, an abrick composite consisting of soil, water, and straw or dung, may be obtained from local sources.

Cuy, according to a study conducted by Peru’s national health agency, has a higher nutritional value than poultry, beef, and lamb, among other things.

The rest of the breeds are exported as household pets.

The Peruvian breed has been recorded to weigh as much as 3kg in some instances.

“I do not rule out the possibility of their production in nations where they are considered pets, but I believe that marketing and presentation must be improved.

Sales of cuy meat increased by 18 percent between 1994 and 2018, according to the report.

Peru continues to be the top producer, followed by Ecuador, with Andean expatriates in the United States serving as the primary export market (99 percent ).

“They have encountered significant difficulties in their attempts to persuade customs authorities that their products are safe, healthy, and do not pose a threat to public health.

” Although enterprises have satisfied all applicable export and import regulations in both nations, as well as possessing permits from the United States Department of Agriculture, this has occurred.”

Cuy in Ecuador: How to Eat Guinea Pig • Storyteller Travel

Cuy is a typical meal in Ecuador, and it is considered a delicacy. And, certainly, cuy are being used as test subjects. My visit to a cuy farm and subsequent consumption of freshly roasted cuy are detailed in this post. In addition, I discuss my experiences adjusting to other cultures. Culture. When you hear that term, what is the first thing that comes to mind for you? Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is your cultural background, whatever that may be. Or perhaps you recall something you watched on television about distinct and exotic destinations that piqued your interest.

Some are relatively gentle, making it simple to become used to them.

There may be some significant disparities between our culture and the culture to which we are attempting to adapt – whether the differences be in their music, people, or food.

The precise delicacy that we had was prepared for us by a friend who owns a business that specialized in this particular meal and had it delivered to us.

A Cultural Note: Open Mind Required

Before I continue to tell you this story, I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions. Lots of people associate ‘developing’ or ‘third-world’ nations with being impoverished, unclean, and lacking in education. It is true that there are certain parts of the city that are not attractive and polished, but this can be stated about any city in the world. Every town, city, and nation has regions that are impoverished and unsightly. Ecuador, on the other hand, is amazing and gorgeous. Some outsiders believe that just because someone cannot communicate in their native language, that person is somehow less intellectual.

  • As a matter of fact, we’re the ones who are stupid for not learning their language.
  • We must learn to adapt to and appreciate their way of life.
  • They may be making fun of our culture, our food, or the way we speak, for example.
  • Believe it or not, I have personally observed outsiders inflicting similar kind of abuse on the citizens of Ecuador.

Eating Guinea Pig in Ecuador

To get back to my tale, my friends owned a barn outside their property that they used for storage. The barn was also stuffed with guinea pigs (cue the drumroll. )! They appeared to be in excellent health and were properly cared for. I was expecting a strong odor, as I would anticipate in any animal stable. I was right. His barn, on the other hand, didn’t have much of a foul stench at all. Instead, it has a mildly pleasant aroma of alfalfa and hay on the nose. There are huge pens for the guinea pigs, and they appeared to be content in their surroundings.

  1. One enormous cuy who is expecting a child!
  2. They are very cute.
  3. But that’s not the case.
  4. They are treated in the same way as any other farm animal: they are reared for meat in hygienic circumstances and slaughtered in a compassionate manner.
  5. This will be used for the rice, potatoes, and salad, among other things.

You’re going to get dirty if you want to properly eat a cuy. Simply take it up and start digging. Consider KFC: Cuy – it’s so delectable you’ll want to lick your fingers! Because the cuy is not a particularly meaty animal, you’ll have to pick it up to be able to readily consume the meat.

Wait, You Did What?!

When we finished seeing their property, which included the house, barn, and alfalfa fields, it was time to sit down and eat lunch. I adore animals and don’t believe I could have stood by and seen them slaughter and clean the guinea pigs, so they had them prepared and ready before I arrived. A guinea pig is grilled whole on a spit with a metal rod running through their midsection over hot coals, and the meat is tender and juicy. Their flavor is enhanced by brushing them with butter and spices before baking.

  1. However, they are very delicious!
  2. I had a guinea pig for dinner.
  3. Equatorial Guinea Pig is eaten whole with a few side dishes, and it is similar to Ecuador’s version of lobster.
  4. The meat is a little oily, but it is very excellent.
  5. I think guinea pigs to be less nasty than lobster; I have difficulties cleaning and eating at the same time when I’m eating anything.
  6. Bleeecchh…

A Note On Common Sense

You should do your absolute best to be kind and respectful to your host if they offer to feed you guinea pig even if you don’t think you’ll be able to handle it. Guinea pig is a real delicacy in the area and is very expensive by local standards, so it means that your friends think highly of your abilities. However, I strongly advise you to give it a go! The supper was fantastic, and we had a lot of good laughs with our companions afterward. When going overseas, it’s important to remember that while most people adhere to good cleanliness standards, there are others who do not.

  • So do some research before you attempt your first guinea pig to ensure that you get the finest possible experience.
  • This is not meant to be an insult to your intelligence; but, some individuals become naïve when traveling and do things that they would never do otherwise.
  • Something to be aware of is that while many of the guinea pigs are murdered in what we would consider ‘normal’ ways, some are killed by pounding their skulls against a rock (I know, it’s awful and difficult to fathom, but this has been the habit for decades).
  • Many people believe that it tastes better when the blood is removed, so check with the restaurant beforehand.
  • Many individuals have informed them that the meat is far superior to that of some of the other local establishments where they may purchase guinea pigs.
  • We had a wonderful day with this family and ate a delicious lunch together!

I hope you have the opportunity to try guinea pig at some point in the future and that you are able to have an open mind about it. I admit that the first time I tried it, I was a little apprehensive, but it was really worth it! Have a good time on your journey.

Two Roast Cuy Please – Do You Deliver?

Before I wrap up, I’d want to offer a couple photos of the cuy that we had ordered in. Yes, we placed an order for 2 roast cuys, which came complete with all the fixings, and it was delivered to our home the following day. Dena Haines writes the following portion, which is about our first experience with cuy.

There’s a Guinea Pig On My Plate! Culture Shock for Dinner

During our preliminary investigation into Ecuador as a possible relocation destination, one of the habits that startled us was the fact that they ate Guinea pigs. Our only exposure to Guinea pigs in Canada was when they were marketed as pets in pet stores, and we had never considered eating them.

Guinea Pig for Dinner! Our First Time

As we got more serious about relocating to Ecuador, and especially to Cuenca (a city in the Andes highlands), we began to delve a little further into the country’s cultures and traditions. On our research, we discovered that Guinea pig (“Cuy” in Spanish) is offered on major occasions and as a special lunch for distinguished visitors. It is one of the most costly items on the menu.

Changing Perspectives

When our daughter first learned that refusing a local delicacy may result in disappointment and offense, she began to change her mind about trying it. We also assisted her in her reasoning by pointing out how adorable chickens, cows, and pigs are, and then discussing them. Her reaction to eating them (we are major meat eaters) and how her feelings about them altered once they were all prepared on her plate were both fascinating to observe and learn from. Drew had a better understanding of how conventions influence people’s everyday life when they talked about eating Guinea pig meat as if it were the same thing as eating chicken or cow meat.

It all comes down to how things are seen by a person as he or she grows older.

Prior to the discovery of lobster, it was thought to be a meal eaten mainly by the poor, and some people were ashamed to be seen eating it.

Perception is a strange and wonderful thing.

Getting Prepared to Eat Cuy

Additionally, looking up photographs on the internet was beneficial. That way, when she saw genuine Guinea pigs for sale at markets and being sold cooked and prepared on the street, she would be more prepared. It turns out that we were correct. “Oh look, they’re selling the Guinea pigs!” Drew said as soon as we arrived and spotted the cuy being sold on the street for the first time. It didn’t seem like a huge issue to her at all. It wasn’t long before we were welcomed to a friend’s house, and guess what they served us?

We were all looking forward to it because we knew exactly what they were serving before we arrived.

A friend who came with us stated that she had eaten cuy in a variety of ways, but that baked cuy was her absolute favorite of the bunch.

The flesh was sweet and oily, and it tasted a lot like duck meat to me. It was served with a variety of side dishes including rice, potatoes, avocado, choclo (corn), and cheese.

We Did It!

However, despite the fact that it may sound absurd, I am proud of my family for being brave and eating cuy. Cuy had a nice flavor to it, and the rest of the lunch was also wonderful! Some folks find the head to be very delectable. Some people enjoy the small feet or paws as well; they just put them into their mouths whole and crush them up. Now, whenever we meet new Ecuadorian friends, they frequently joke about inviting us over for cuy (chicken stew). It appears that they do not believe that foreigners will eat it, but when we tell them that “we tried it and enjoyed it!” they are quite taken aback.

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Consequently, if you are contemplating a vacation to Ecuador, you may want to include eating Guinea pig on your itinerary.

Hungry for more?

Do you want to try even more delicious Ecuadorian cuisine? Check out the menu to see what other delectable foods are available.

Your Turn

Will you give cuy a shot in Ecuador? Have you given it a shot? Join me in the comments section and tell me all about it! Drew Haines is an animal enthusiast who also happens to be a travel writer. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for the subject matter via her writing. Drew is the owner of two prominent wildlife websites: EverywhereWild and JustBirding. She stayed in Ecuador for six years, during which time she traveled to the Galapagos Islands. Currently situated in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Gordon Ramsay Talked About Eating Guinea Pigs And Revealed They Are “Delicious”

“I can tell you right now, it’s fantastic.”

You’ve probably seen Gordon Ramsay prepare lots of different meats on TV — steak, chicken, pork, lamb, seafood, you name it.

courtesy of Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

But in his new National Geographic series,Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, the chef revealed a favorite meat of his that you might not expect: guinea pig.

courtesy of Globalp / Getty Images

“You do not know what you’re missing,” Gordonsaysof guinea pig meat. “I am telling you now, delicious.”

Photograph by Ethan Miller / Getty Images

But according to Gordon, you’ll never see guinea pig on the menu at any of his US restaurants.

Photograph by Robin Marchant / Getty Images

“I can’t feature roasted guinea pig on my menus here in the US. I would be taken down,” he said.

Photograph by Alptraum / Getty Images

Now, it’s important to note that Gordon made these comments while traveling through Peru, where guinea pig meat is actually apopular food. Here’s what guinea pig looks like once it’s cooked:

Patrickheagney is a Getty Images contributor.

And here’s one way it might be served:

courtesy of Takahisa145 / Getty Images

On the show, Gordon eats a loin cut of guinea pig, which hetellsthe camera is “pretty good, like a suckling pig.”

Ethan Miller is a young man who aspires to be a writer.

It might be a little surprising for some Americans who think of guinea pigs only as pets — but hey, these things are all relative to our own experiences.

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A Traditional Andean Food: Cuy (Guinea Pig)

Guinea pigs are not popular as household pets in Peru, as you would have imagined. A traditional and significant source of protein in the Andes, where they are known as cuy (pronouncedcoo-ee), so named because of the sound the animal makes while it hunts. Pre-colonial Peruvian cuisine included guinea pig meat, which was consumed long before European invaders introduced poultry, pigs, and cows to the region, and the practice has survived to the present day as a culinary tradition.

Steeped in Tradition

Apparently, eating cuy has become such a tradition in Peru (it is estimated that 65 million guinea pigs are consumed annually there) that there are festivals dedicated to the humble beast, complete with competitions for the best dressed guinea pig, the largest one, and, of course, the best-tasting guinea pig. For the month of October, Peruvians have proclaimed a national holiday every second Friday of the month to honor the guinea pig.

A mating pair of guinea pigs is frequently presented as a gift to children, newlyweds, and guests, and the animals are cared for in the same way as hens are reared at home, rather than being maintained as household pets.

History and Culture

Cuy has been considered a delicacy for more than 5,000 years and has been a staple of Andean cuisine for almost as long. It was prized by the ancient Incan elite and was used for a variety of purposes, including fortune reading and sacrifice. A renowned religious picture in Cusco’s cathedral (in the country’s southeastern region) depicts Jesus and his followers eating a large plate of cuy with one another. A betting game (tómbola de cuy) is played in which guinea pigs are released into an area with multiple numbered boxes; players place bets on which numbered box the guinea pig will enter after being released.

Preparation to Eat

Cuy has a flavor that is comparable to that of rabbit or wildfowl. It is normally eaten whole, either fried, roasted, or grilled, with a serving of rice, potatoes, corn, and spicy sauce as a side dish to accompany it. Cuy chactado is a fried cuy that has been flattened and fried to a crisp, and most tourists who try cuy tend to enjoy it in this form. In the event that you are not interested in eating guinea pig, there are many other traditional Andean meals and dishes to try, such as chupe de man (peanut and potato soup), humitas (fresh corn tamales), quinoa, kiwicha (an edible flowering plant), and, of course, a large variety of potatoes.

Is America Ready for Farm-to-Table Guinea Pig?

However, this scene is repeated out on a regular basis in little communities throughout the Andes – with the exception that the police are never called. Guinea pig, orcuyas as it is known in Spanish, is considered a delicacy. The flesh is well regarded and has a flavor that is a mix between duck and rabbit. Cooked over an open flame, the meat of guinea pig is rich, fatty, and tasty, and the skin may rival pork crackling in terms of crispness and taste when roasted over an open flame. Despite the fact that eating guinea pig may appear strange to many Americans, entrepreneurial merchants sought to bring the meat to the American market as early as the 1920s.

  • It was given the namecavy, which is a term used to denote any short-tailed member of the familyCaviidae found in South America.
  • J.A.
  • His book, Profit in Guinea Pigs, even included a number of recipes for the home chef to use.
  • The return on investment might come from a variety of sectors, including meat, fur, and live animals for use in research institutions.

Despite Roberts’ efforts to position guinea pig as the “next best thing,” his company failed to generate widespread interest in “Kentucky Fried Cavy.” Today, while guinea pigs are best recognized as laboratory animals and as the common beginning pet for young children, its gastronomic appeal is slowly but steadily making its way back into the United States of America.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, “South American immigrants were the second-fastest growing segment of the Latin American immigrant population between 2000 and 2010,” and “between 2000 and 2010, South American immigrants were the second-fastest growing segment of the Latin American immigrant population.” The majority have relocated to four states: California, Florida, New Jersey, and New York, according to census data.

  1. And, like the immigrants who came before them, they bring their own culinary traditions with them to the United States.
  2. Earlier this year, Public Radio International reported that frozen guinea pig imported from the United Kingdom was selling for $12.99 a pound in a New York City grocery shop.
  3. Jesus Inga, the proprietor of Sabor Latino in Elmhurst, says that he would want to servecuybut that only very small restaurants can get away with it because of the high cost of doing so.
  4. The restaurant has an 80 percent Ecuadorian client base, many of whom are hungry for home-style dishes like roastcuy and guinea pig.
  5. However, it is perfectly lawful to serve guinea pig.
  6. Rabbit, bison, and venison are some of the other meats that fall under this category and that are regularly consumed by humans.
  7. According to federal law, it is classified as exotic meat – commonly known as game or “non-amenable animal” – and its sale is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The sale, purchase, giving away, or accepting of “any carcass of any animal traditionally or commonly kept as a pet or companion with the intent of using or having another person use any part of that carcass for food” is prohibited under California law, but it appears that the law has not yet been tested in the case of the guinea pig.

  1. Thus, the topic of whether there is a market for the production of Guinea pigs outside of the South American community is raised.
  2. Doris Rodriguez de Platt, Platt’s mother, was born in Peru and is actively involved in the operation of the family restaurant.
  3. But, while Rodriguez de Platt wishes he could share his family’s recipe with Andina’s diners, she feels the restaurant is unable to do so since Oregon law does not explicitly permit farms to produce guinea pigs for meat.
  4. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is, on the other hand, eager to collaborate with farmers who wish to produce guinea pigs for meat.
  5. A permit is required for the import and export of guinea pigs across state boundaries.
  6. It follows that frozen imported guinea pig should face some competition on the market in the near future.

If you are ready to produce and process your own litter of guinea pigs, one of the first tasks you should do is to contact your local Department of Agriculture for assistance. Prepare for a perplexed reaction, but keep in mind that the federal law should be on your side in this situation.

A Taste of Peru: Eating Guinea Pig

The sight, smell, and taste of food are some of the most enticing aspects of traveling. Meandering through smoky alleyways and bustling marketplaces, taking in the aromas of delectable treats and stopping at numerous street stalls for a wonderful snack are all part of the experience. For us, learning about a nation’s cuisine, culture, and people is an important aspect of learning about that country. And we’re willing to give everything a go at least once. As a result, when we arrived in Cusco, Peru, we knew that we would have to becuyor guinea pig for a portion of our gastronomic trip.

In the Andes region of South America, an indigenous wild type of guinea pig termed ascavy was originally domesticated for food as part of religious rites circa 5000 B.C.

In recent years, its use as a common food item has increased significantly, owing to its historical significance in religious rites.

A whole lot of guinea pigs, to be sure.

Surely you can imagine what happens to the models during the after-show celebration!

They require far less room and resources than bigger animals such as cattle, reproduce fast, and can be grown in an urban area without difficulty.

In addition, guinea pigs may be used to augment the income of families who can keep and breed them in their own houses before selling them at a market.

After a time, our food was brought to us.in its whole.

(I apologize for the terrible quality of this photograph, but you get the concept.) We simply stood there and gazed at it for a long time.

What is the proper way to prepare guinea pig for consumption?

We were the only ones there at such an early hour, and his small kid was intrigued by what we were doing.

The real taste of guinea pig is not so horrible – it is frequently characterized as having a flavor similar to that of rabbit or dark meat chicken.

You might find that if you can get beyond that mental barrier, you will actually love this characteristic Peruvian cuisine.

Do you approach things with a “When in Rome” attitude? Or do you have a set of limitations? What is the “strangest” meal that you have ever consumed? Please let us know what you think by expressing your ideas and experiences in the space below.

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